Nuremberg wants an opera house on Rally site

Nuremberg wants an opera house on Rally site


norman lebrecht

November 30, 2021

The Nuremberg State Theater is falling to pieces and must close for renovation by 2025.

There’s a plan to build a temporary opera house.

Using an unfinished congress hall that was being built for future Nazi rallies.

It was meant to accommodate 50,000 people. The shell of the building, 38 meters high, is used for educational purposes to demonstrate Hitler’s megalomania.

A suitable venue for opera?




  • J Barcelo says:

    The operas of Wagner, Paul Graener and Hans Pfitzner would go over well there.

  • A.L. says:

    Suitable, yes, to demonstrate opera directors’ megalomania and their dark tendencies.

  • Tom says:

    Google Earth shows there’s already a concert space there. Lots of parking.

  • RW2013 says:

    Might attract a whole new audience…

  • Depends on how they “handle” it, but then again for Germany this kind of “glorification” is the norm. And why not, when not a soul rallies against the new monument in Treblinka honoring so called righteous Poles, thus continuing distortion of Holocaust history.

    • La plus belle voix says:

      Please Helen point us towards examples of such glorification.

      • This is a job for Google, which has thousands of examples, but in answer to your question, President Regan’s laying of a flower reef honoring the dead German soldiers at Bitburg comes immediately to mind.

        • La plus belle voix says:

          The decision by the then Chancellor Kohl to invite Regan to lay a wreath (sic) at Bitburg was undoubtedly wrong. But to extrapolate from that event the notion that this kind of “glorification” is the “norm” in present day Germany, as you put it, is just as foolish. By the way, you might find out via Google that the two men visited Bergen-Belsen as part of the schedule.

          • Sisko24 says:

            The visit to Bergen-Belsen, to me, does NOT mitigate the visit to Bitburg. Those buried there were members of the SS. They were the most virulent, vehement and rabid supporters of Nazism. They joined enthusiastically into the SS and even many Wehrmacht and other Germans did not like them at all. Some, if not all, of our present-day problems with extreme right-wing anti-social types stems from the ‘glorification’ and normalization of the memory and acts of those types.

          • La plus belle voix says:

            I agree entirely, but was not suggesting that the visit to Bergen-Belsen mitigated the one to Bitburg. The Bitburg Controversy, as reported by the German press at the time, was a huge political miscalculation at best, and overtly cynical at worst.

            My point is that the “norm” in present-day Germany as propounded by Helen can not directly be linked to that event.

            For the record, all military cemeteries in Germany likely contain graves of the Waffen-SS, and all decorations and memorials to members of the SS were removed prior to the Bitburg visit. Amongst the 32 rows of headstones, there were 49 SS graves. Statistics do not make the crimes of the past any less heinous, but I just wanted to present some facts.

          • One doesn’t “visit” Bergen Belsen

          • La plus belle voix says:

            What does one do then Helen? Not visit?

          • to la plus: one “visits” a friend or relative, shares some stollen and a cup of tea. One makes a pilgrimage to a death camp and drops to their knees and begs forgiveness, or in the case of victims and their relatives, say a prayer for the dead. Hardly a “visit.”

        • Brettermeier says:

          “flower reef”

          We call it the Great Flower Reef.

          “This is a job for Google”

          No, that’s your job. True story, google it.

        • Bill says:

          a flower reef? President Regan? I remember Reagan being present at a wreath-laying ceremony. Regan was his chief of staff.

    • Alviano says:

      I don’t think you can blame the Germans for what the Poles do.

    • V.Lind says:

      Doesn’t the new monument honour one individual? The “righteous Poles” are honoured as a group at Yad Vashem.

      • The new monument, more importantly is the current Polish government’s attempt to distort and blind side Holocaust History. You might read Goetz Aly’s new book Europe Against the Jews 1800-1945

  • Patrick Gillot says:

    Yes excellent venue for an Opera House instead of this awful ans useless Nazi temple. Time to move on Nürnberg!

  • Alviano says:

    It’s only a building. I don’t think anyone will confuse La boheme with a Nazi party rally.

  • La plus belle voix says:

    Here is a link showing the current state of the building:

    It’s just a building. This does not mean there should be no debate.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      I wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot Pole. (Sorry!)

      Demolition only for that hideous monstrosity.

    • Imbrod says:

      It’s more than “just a building”. On my last trip to Bayreuth–just before seeing the Kosky Meistersinger–I spent 5 hours going through the Documentation Center, and felt like I’d been through the wringer. It’s a chillingly thorough and important compendium of information about how the Nazis did what they did. Let the opera build a temporary facility like Brussels did during their renovation.

  • Elsie says:

    We must forgive but we can never forget… It’s a tainted, ghastly place which should be steered well clear of.

    • La plus belle voix says:

      Or let art triumph?

    • Gary Freer says:

      Stalin used to attend the Bolshoi. Had a disappointing evening at Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. Let’s forbid performances there too.

      Or we could perhaps all grow up.

      • Historian says:

        At least Germany (at West’s insistence) have underwent denazification and repudiation of nazi era crimes, while in Russia to this date, Stalin’s era is glorified and none of the perpetrators of millions of regime’s crimes have been officially condemned or even exposed, creating basis of current oppression.

    • La plus belle voix says:

      PS: If you steer well clear of it then you consign the building to history, and thus forget it.

  • Wurm says:

    The opening show should be The Producers (for one night only)

  • msc says:

    It sounds like a viable site for a temporary structure. They should just make sure the opening opera is something like Schoenberg’s Moses and Aron, or perhaps Rossini’s Moses in Egypt. Then they should fill out the first season with other operas by Jewish composers or composers banned by the National Socialists, or on Jewish themes, and end with Beethoven’s Fidelio. That should make the point.

    • La plus belle voix says:

      At last, someone with constructive suggestions.

    • Hmus says:

      Franz Schreker’s operas would be worthwhile musically as well.

    • Visitor says:

      There has been a production of “Fidelio” as music-theatre project under the title “Töt erst sein Weib” in 2016. In 2010 the drama section produced Peter Weiss “Die Ermittlung” about the Auschwitz trials right there, which was widely acclaimed. The Nuremberg theatre and the citizens are very aware of the history of this place!

  • Whynot says:

    There was a performance of Owen Wingrave there some years back.

  • Peter Selwyn says:

    Yes, Owen Wingrave was performed in the complex 10 years ago, and Rape of Lucretia 8 years before that, as part of the Internationales Kammermusikfestival Nurnberg (which I organised). The Opera House then used it as a venue for a couple of chamber pieces, I believe. But these were all in the rather small Saulenhalle, which is part of the fantastic Dokuzentrum museum. Part of the complex also houses the rehearsal studio and offices for the Nurnberger Symphoniker. So the building is already well known as an alternative venue for arts in Nuremberg. I guess they are thinking about converting the massive outside space into a temporary theatre. Sounds like a good idea. Whatever repertoire they decide to do there will of course have to refer to, and take resonance from, the surroundings. It’s hard to imagine something light and frothy there. Wagner would be incredible….

  • Kenny says:

    Kinda the opposite of what you would want, ya think? I mean, c’mon.

  • Frank Flambeau says:

    No. Leave it as a memorial but the ‘good’ people of Nuremberg seem devoid of common sense, still.

  • Mystic Chord says:

    I find the idea of staging opera there most innapropriate and would leave the unfinished hall exactly as is. To turn it into a venue of entertainment dilutes its power, maybe that is the objective, but in so doing it also dilutes the impact it has for those still willing to learn about this era. The collosal scale of this building and its ominous atmosphere can only be truly appreciated by visiting after the Documentation Centre exhibit. In fact it’s a great shame that other parts of the Rally Grounds were also not better preserved in terms of educating future generations. I found my visit incredibly moving and powerful as did my family.

  • Gerald Martin says:

    Does anyone really expect an audience of 50,000 for an opera?


      Yes, Gerald, they not only expect such an audience but “toothbrush” mustaches will be required, even for females, unless said female is carrying a flaming torch.

    • Brettermeier says:

      With Taylor Swift as Rosina they’d need a bigger building.

  • GH says:

    Yes of course you can. Then open up a concentration camp as well to put the illegal refugees if you lack spaces for them too (sarcasm-explanation for the stupid)